Searching higher up the funnel

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Consumer search behaviour is complex.

You perform multiple searches on multiple devices over multiple days; where everything you see and experience, in the SERPs and beyond, influences your brand preference and purchase decisions.

Traditional funnel analysis and marketing models do a poor job of measuring and managing this ecosystem.

We need to re-think the way we talk about, measure and manage SEO if we want bigger budgets, integrated strategies, and to win big - and we need to move fast; some of the world's biggest companies are already beating us to it.

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Searching higher up the funnel

  1. 1. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson Searching Higher Up The Funnel Jono Alderson, Global Head of Digital @ Linkdex Jono Alderson Head of Insight @ Linkdex @jonoalderson
  2. 2. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson I my day job
  3. 3. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson
  4. 4. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson
  5. 5. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson
  6. 6. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson
  7. 7. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson “That sounds really boring, Jono.” - Will Critchlow Distilled, 2015
  8. 8. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson
  9. 9. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson This sounds familiar...
  10. 10. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson Getting stuff done Marketing in your sleep Cracking the SEO code of 2015 Behind Your Integrated Marketing Strategy Existential Crisis Management And it looks familiar...
  11. 11. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson ?
  12. 12. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson
  13. 13. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson
  14. 14. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson 28 types!
  15. 15. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson
  16. 16. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson Everything we know about SEO is lies-to-children.
  17. 17. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson This oversimplification is why we sometimes feel a bit stuck.
  18. 18. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson It’s why we’re going through an identity crisis.
  19. 19. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson SEO IS DEAD! / LONG LIVE SEO!
  20. 20. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson Content Marketing?
  21. 21. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson Content Marketing Inbound Marketing?
  22. 22. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson Content Marketing Inbound Marketing SEO?
  23. 23. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson Content Marketing Inbound Marketing SEO Marketing?
  24. 24. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson Content Marketing Inbound Marketing SEO Marketing Growth Hackers?
  25. 25. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson Content Marketing Inbound Marketing SEO Marketing Growth Hackers ???
  26. 26. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson It’s why we struggle to achieve our ambitions.
  27. 27. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson It’s why we’re stuck in-house / in an agency / freelancing
  28. 28. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson It’s why we’re culpable.
  29. 29. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson It’s getting harder.
  30. 30. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson “Knowing SEO” is no longer enough.
  31. 31. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson Your success in 2016 and beyond depends on how you think about (and beyond) SEO.
  32. 32. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson Today’s mission: 1. Share my less simple vision of “the truth” 2. Overcome the technical challenges 3. Overcome the business challenges 4. Overcome the human challenges
  33. 33. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson Ready?
  34. 34. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson The first lie... SEO is tactical.
  35. 35. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson > a trillion searches per year
  36. 36. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson
  37. 37. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson 34.7% 17.5% 10.3% 6.7% 4.7%
  38. 38. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson “Find the most profitable niche!”
  39. 39. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson Keyword Search Volume Keyword 1 10,000 Keyword 2 9,000 Keyword 3 8,000 Keyword 4 7,000 Keyword 5 6,000 keyword 6 5,000 Keyword 7 4,000 Keyword 8 3,000 Keyword 9 2,000 Keyword 10 1,000 Keyword 11 900 Keyword 12 800 Keyword 13 700 Keyword 14 600 Keyword 15 500 Keyword 16 400 Keyword 17 300 Competition High High High High High Medium Medium Medium Medium Medium Medium Medium Medium Medium Low Low Low Est Traffic/Revenue 2,000 1,980 1,000 900 800 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 90 80 70 60 50 Group / Page Landing Page 1 Landing Page 1 Landing Page 1 Landing Page 1 Homepage Homepage Homepage Homepage Homepage Landing Page 2 Landing Page 2 Landing Page 2 Landing Page 2 Landing Page 2 Landing Page 2 Landing Page 3 Landing page 3 Search volume / projected rank / average CTR = potential traffic / CR * AOV = potential revenue
  40. 40. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson
  41. 41. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson “So, where are my results?”
  42. 42. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson This creates reactive cultures 1. Everybody’s chasing rankings for the same keywords, rather than chasing (or creating) their ideal customer. 2. Teams are KPI’d on the wrong behaviour; bad experiences all round. 3. All strategies, agencies, and priorities are transient and driven by fear.
  43. 43. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson The second lie... SEO is strategic.
  44. 44. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson
  45. 45. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson The Zero Moment of Truth
  46. 46. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson This positions content marketing and inbound marketing techniques as powerful tools
  47. 47. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson The problem is… Not all searches have obviously valuable outcomes “cheapest panasonic 32 inch tv”
  48. 48. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson The problem is… Not all searches have obviously valuable outcomes “cheapest panasonic 32 inch tv” “best new lcd tv”
  49. 49. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson The problem is… Not all searches have obviously valuable outcomes “cheapest panasonic 32 inch tv” “best new lcd tv” “lcd vs plasma tv guide”
  50. 50. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson The problem is… Not all searches have obviously valuable outcomes “cheapest panasonic 32 inch tv” “best new lcd tv” “lcd vs plasma tv guide” “fuzzy sound on TV”
  51. 51. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson The only brand in the mix!
  52. 52. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson Your content marketing isn’t clever, sexy or effective if you manage it like paid search. You’re missing the point.
  53. 53. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson Attribution Marketing by moment
  54. 54. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson
  55. 55. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson
  56. 56. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson As a concept, this feels cheesy right. ...but how do we make this a useful framework? And if marketing is about Moments, how do I win? death to the funnel
  57. 57. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson “Moments are behaviours or psychological states exhibited by consumers as they interact with search engines.” A better definition?
  58. 58. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson Can we infer and classify the moment from keywords/topics? “best lcd tv” vs “compare cheap 32inch tvs”
  59. 59. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson Define topic rules “best lcd tvs” Modifier - Quality List refinement - Quality Product type refinement - LCD Plural
  60. 60. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson [A secret shortcut]
  61. 61. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson http://labs.linkdex.com/term-tagger/ Early (discontinued) prototype, but good for proof of concept!
  62. 62. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson “Young Drivers Car Insurance” Keyword 6.6k monthly searches
  63. 63. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson “Young Drivers Car Insurance” Topic / Concept 66k monthly searches
  64. 64. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson Define moment rules Behaviour - Comparing “best lcd tvs” Modifier - Quality List refinement - Quality Product type refinement - LCD Plural Evaluating
  65. 65. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson We’ve identified 12+ ‘universal moments’! ...and a bunch of sector-specific ones, too.
  66. 66. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson Get all of the relevant keywords. Keywords [1,000’s] Topics [100’s] Moments [10’s]
  67. 67. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson
  68. 68. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson Supplement keywords with ranking & CTR data
  69. 69. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson Tiny market share of huge opportunity!
  70. 70. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson To win, you need to engage with (lots of) different keywords moments To be visible, to influence, to win hearts and minds, at scale
  71. 71. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson ● The commercial and resource models don’t allow for this level of research. ● This is high-level strategy; beyond your pay-grade, and the scale of it is terrifying. ● Retailer & brands can’t compete with publishers on research-level content ● Where does responsibility start or stop? ● Success is the totality of the user experience; brand. Product, service, culture, etc Your SEO team can’t impact performance
  72. 72. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson The third lie... SEO is integrated digital marketing.
  73. 73. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson
  74. 74. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson Imagine you’re responsible for SEO at Argos.
  75. 75. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson *click* *click* *think* *search*
  76. 76. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson
  77. 77. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson “I’m not the expert” For all considered purchases, manage how the user becomes an expert.
  78. 78. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson You win by managing the ecosystem and the perceptions which searchers develop Change the way you think about SEO
  79. 79. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson Let’s get practical.
  80. 80. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson Imagine you’re responsible for SEO at Samsung. You’re tasked with selling more televisions
  81. 81. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson The UK TVs Market ● Over 8,600 distinct keywords, which collectively represent ~3.5 million searches per month, with a media value of ~£1 million per month. ● 95 topic groups representing brands, product attributes (e.g., screen size), types of phrasing (e. g. questions) and TV-related concepts. ● Inferred behaviours and psychological states spanning 9 moments.
  82. 82. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson “List building” is the most significant Moment in the consumer buying cycle in terms of search volume, across multiple product subcategories. LED Large TVs Small TVs Smart TVs UHD Total Broad Search 243,670 Knowledge Acquiring 270 510 4,940 1,570 16,680 List Building 49,650 368,610 48,070 209,270 127,130 1,571,446 Evaluating 2,640 6,840 710 3,930 2,610 133,200 Shopping 650 3,050 10 7,080 3,760 207,560 Cost Reducing 2,770 10,100 70 9,100 3,570 83,680 Monthly Searches by Moment / Topic
  83. 83. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson Samsung and its primary competitors attract only ~5% of visits within the market. Total Monthly Searches: 3,487,679 samsung.com, Est. Organic Visits: 71,617 (2%) lg.com, Est. Organic Visits: 48,335 (1.4%) sony.co.uk, Est. Organic Visits: 39,873 (1.1%) philips.co.uk, Est. Organic Visits: 6,746 (0.2%) The biggest brands’ domains account for very little market.
  84. 84. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson { PAUSE TO REFLECT }
  85. 85. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson 39% of total List Building market size ~280,000 monthly visits JUST for List Building
  86. 86. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson Top Pages Est. Visits Media Value Large Screen TVs (32" and over) 102,290 (6.5%) £22,209 Televisions - Smart LED, 4K, OLED TVs & Accessories 54,583 (3.5%) £12,099 TVs, DVD & Blu Ray, Home Cinema & Gaming 28,609 (1.8%) £7,133 Small Screen TVs (up to 32") Deals 14,951 (1.0%) £3,414 Large Screen TVs (32" and over) Deals 10,599 (0.7%) £3,833 4K Ultra HD TVs – Experience 4x Definition 9,097 (0.6%) £1,574 Samsung Smart TV Range 6,623 (0.4%) £81 Samsung U8500 UHD Curved TV 6,495 (0.4%) £592 LG OLED TV – Explore LG LED & OLED TV Range 6,371 (0.4%) £858 Total (282 Pages) 277,942 £171,220 So, which pages are most visible, visited, influential in the purchase decision?
  87. 87. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson
  88. 88. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson Top Pages Est. Visits Media Value 4K TV and Ultra HD: Everything you need to know 18,435 (1.2%) £15,298 Best TV 2015: what TV should you buy? 11,676 (0.7%) £7,950 5 best UHD 4K TVs of 2015 11,227 (0.7%) £9,194 Cheap TVs: The best TV deals in June 2015 9,010 (0.6%) £9,059 10 best 60-65-inch TVs in the world today 7,837 (0.5%) £3,641 10 best 50 and 55-inch TVs in the world today 7,312 (0.5%) £4,175 12 best 40 and 42-inch TVs in the world today 5,893 (0.4%) £3,304 4 best Smart TVs in the world 2015 4,576 (0.3%) £3,538 13 best 32-inch TVs in the world today 3,108 (0.2%) £1,624 Total (93 Pages) 88,312 £64,559 And what about pages which are most visible for people who are researching technologies?
  89. 89. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson 18k views per month for just one article - and he’s written over 4,000. Where does all this content come from?
  90. 90. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson “What about me, my site, and directly transactional behaviour?” The end of the funnel is still important.
  91. 91. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson When you understand moments, you can turbo-charge your content strategies. Here’s the process...
  92. 92. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson Example (fake) data for ‘Ford’
  93. 93. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson Pro tip: the ‘Query’ function in Google Sheets is awesome.
  94. 94. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson Waaaaaaaaaaaait. This may be a trap.
  95. 95. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson What are we trying to achieve? “Right results, right content, right person, right moment”
  96. 96. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson
  97. 97. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson http://bit.ly/linkdex-pageflow
  98. 98. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson This doesn’t just apply to ‘Enterprise SEO’ Visits don’t occur in isolation. People research.
  99. 99. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson Turn content marketing into a targeted, Tangible Thing. This approach enables you to...
  100. 100. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson This approach enables you to... Stop talking and worrying about keyword rankings, and start thinking about opportunity and market share
  101. 101. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson This approach enables you to... Capture consumers* higher up the funnel, earlier in the decision-making process
  102. 102. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson This approach enables you to... Tactically use partners & affiliates to be where you can’t, or use paid media to fill gaps throughout the buying cycle
  103. 103. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson This approach enables you to... Put forecasts and business cases against familiar metrics like ‘visibility’ and ‘share of market’ in a meaningful way
  104. 104. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson This approach enables you to... Compare apples-with-apples, framed by user behaviours and needs
  105. 105. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson People don’t do this because... their data is too shallow
  106. 106. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson People don’t do this because... it’s not SEO(?)
  107. 107. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson The Truth?
  108. 108. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson The only thing that matters is that somebody has searched; what did they see?
  109. 109. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson “Good SEO* is when you manage the experience and the opinions that users form when they search.” digital marketing / growth hacking / whatever
  110. 110. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson “You enable good SEO by changing the way we think and talk about it, and the way we work with others.”
  111. 111. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson This elevates SEO from a ‘channel’ to a sophisticated marketing & business intelligence function... ...which gets budget, buy-in, and success.
  112. 112. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson Except… Does it?
  113. 113. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson
  114. 114. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson Today’s mission: 1. Share my less simple vision of “the truth” 2. Overcome the technical challenges 3. Overcome the business challenges 4. Overcome the human challenges
  115. 115. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson The ‘business bit’ is really easy Increase revenue, decrease costs, increase brand
  116. 116. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson Use your data to build an awesome strategy Don’t underestimate the power of your vision
  117. 117. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson Best Strategy != Right Strategy Pragmatism > Perfectionism
  118. 118. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson
  119. 119. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson Put your awesome, achievable strategy in a measurement framework (we’re getting off topic)
  120. 120. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson http://bit.ly/kpiframework
  121. 121. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson The ‘people bit’ is harder Understand motivations, anticipate objections
  122. 122. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson C-level Be in control “I can set a binding vision” Marketing Minimise risk “I can change our priorities” Finance Minimise cost “I can agree to spend, to accumulate” Third parties & other SEOs Defend themselves “I can challenge the status quo” Tech & Legal Maintain status quo “I can veto anything” bit.ly/linkdex-videos
  123. 123. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson And what about you? The t-shaped marketer isn’t good enough.
  124. 124. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson That’s probably all we have time for.
  125. 125. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson Some thoughts, to leave you with.
  126. 126. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson This kind of thinking is quietly disrupting industries now Telecoms | Travel | Finance | Insurance | Politics
  127. 127. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson This is a seismic, ideological shift for most organisations. Take baby steps. Introduce concepts like Moments into things like campaign briefs. Grow it slowly.
  128. 128. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson We only work (and are measured) the way we work, because that’s the way we work. And it only changes if we change it.
  129. 129. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson This is a problem, and an opportunity... Right?
  130. 130. @jonoaldersonTurbo-charging your WordPress website (bit.ly/turbo-charge-wordpress) WIN
  131. 131. Searching higher up the funnel @jonoalderson Jono Alderson Global Head of Digital @ Linkdex @jonoalderson

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